It’s a new year, and I know one of your big goals for 2014 is to finally start a budget! Am I right or am I right? Come on, don’t be shy.
Honestly, I feel like budgets get a bad reputation. Many people are afraid to have one for fear that they will feel restricted or confined.
It’s true that you might feel this way but only at first! It’s especially hard to get on track if you are currently living above your means, but it’s an easy fix once you start keeping track of where your money goes. I promise that once you get used to making a budget and sticking to it, it actually kind of rocks.
1. It’s A Challenge To Yourself
If you are a competitive person or like competitive sports, think about budgeting like you would think about a big game. The only difference is that you are playing against yourself. Making a budget and sticking to it is a challenging endeavor. It’s a race to the finish line each month to see if you will end up in the red. It’s a small challenge to see what you can live without and what you can handle. I personally love it, and it’s even fun getting the family involved to see if we can make one month better than the last together.
2. It Feels Great to Be Organized
One of my big goals for 2014 is to stay organized. I am typically pretty organized in my everyday life, but there are a lot of places where I could improve. Budgeting is an excellent way to keep your finances on track. There’s really no excuse when keeping track of spending is as easy as sending a text message to Budget Ease. You’d be surprised at how fun it is to get text messages back telling you about your account balances. I’ve found that after a few months of using the service, I’m much more aware of my spending patterns and weak spots.
3. You Can Look Back on Your Progress
Budgeting is not a perfect art, and that’s one of the big reasons budgets rock. Sure it would be great if every month is free from emergencies or unexpected spending, but that’s unlikely. Life always happens when you least expect it, but a good budget that has categories for savings can help you to prepare for those unexpected moments. Plus, you can look back at your progress for the whole year. I enjoy being able to see how much I spent on rent for the entire year or how much I spent on car repairs during the fourth quarter. Instead of getting upset at the weak points, like my inability to stay under when it comes to my food budget, I treat each category as a learning experience that helps me to be better prepared for the next month.
I could go on and on about why budgets rock, but you won’t know what I mean until you sit down and try it out for yourself!
So, are you going to start a budget this year? What were your financial highs and lows of 2013?
- Catherine Alford